Power struggle overshadows Paris Games as boxing’s future hangs in balance

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Boxing has been an almost ever-present fixture at the Olympics but a bitter conflict over the sport’s governance has cast doubt over its future, with this year’s tournament in danger of being the last for a while at least.

Just as in Tokyo, the boxing tournaments in Paris are being organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which stripped the International Boxing Association (IBA) of recognition last June.

The IBA’s decision to award prize money to boxers at the Paris Games has driven yet another wedge into relations between the bodies and there are fears the sport might be excluded from future Olympics and it is not on the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028.

It is hard to imagine an Olympic landscape without the ‘sweet science’ – which has been a part of every Games since 1904 with the exception of Stockholm 1912 – and even amid the doom and gloom, there is hope that the allure of the brutal sport will prevail.

“The future of boxing is the best and brightest we can possibly imagine,” IBA president Umar Kremlev told Reuters.

“In the world, there are only two sports that can always fill out stadiums, football and boxing. We just need to continue with the work that we have been doing and prove that boxing is the flagship of all Olympic sports.”

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